In Pictures: The Ganga Aarti at Varanasi


I had mentioned this before when I first visited Varanasi. Varanasi can only be described in one word – magical.

 

I stayed near Meer Ghat in a dingy guesthouse, paying about 150 rupees for a room that smelled so much of Marijuana, that I could have sworn it was owned by the Cali cartel. But, I enjoyed the vibe. Of the room, of the hippies who were my neighbours, and of Varanasi.

 

Varanasi is pretty much the centre of the hindu ideology in india, especially due to its relationship with death. But what made it even more exotic was the Ganga aarti, which is conducted every evening at the Dasaswamedh ghat. The Ganga aarti is a prayer to the river Ganga, and is a ceremony conducted by white-clad priests on the riverbanks of the Ganga at 7pm everyday (6 pm during the winter months).

 

The stuff of legends, this prayer has been inviting both amateur and professional photographers from India and abroad, for time immemorial. You could watch this ceremony from one of the boats (which can be rented for 150 – 300 rupees, based on the season) or on the grounds.

 

I took the bait too, but decided to watch it from the ground, which was free. While I posted one photo of the Varanasi Ganga Aarti on my project 365, I felt it would be incomplete if I didn’t post the rest too.

So here goes the rest of them. Hope you found this ceremony as beautiful as I did too.

Varanasi ganga aarti

The blowing of the conch signifies the beginning of the prayers

 

ganga aarti varanasi

Soon, the other priests come out with their assortment of lamps and other stuff.

Ganga aarti prayer

When the prayer is fully on, its a sight to behold, with multiple priests doing the same thing.

dashashwamedh ghat varanasi

A little later into the night, this is what the ghat looks like. Devoid of any festivities.

 


This post is part of my travel stories about India. Click here to check out other amazing stories from India. 



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About Abhi Surendran

Abhi quit his corporate job, and decided to immerse himself in travels, photography, occasional periods of bankruptcy, and copious amounts of insanity. He is currently working on a book of his experiences, and a dream road trip through South Asia. Both in a haphazard fashion. He blogs at Iamnothome and you can also catch him at times on Facebook and twitter.

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